Tag Archives: summer

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Meet the Winning Bakers of Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival

It was the sweetest day of the year for Diane Rogers. The baker and owner of Doo Doo’s Bakery in Bailieboro, Ont. took home not just one, but the three top prizes at Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival, held in Midland on June 9.

The award-winning baker beat out more than 60 competitors to win first place in both the professional traditional and fusion competitions, plus took home ‘Best in Show’ with her stunning strawberry-rhubarb butter tarts. The annual one-day festival, which is a butter tart lover’s dream come true, saw more than 60,000 people descend on the town of Midland, eager to satisfy their sweet tooths. Not only is this a chance to taste tarts from the best bakeries, it is home to the ultimate annual baking competition. The top professional and home bakers enjoy the sweet taste of butter tart baking victory.

diane Rogers

Diane Rogers of Doo Doo’s Bakery took home three of the top prizes in Midland’s Best Butter Tart Festival on Saturday, June 9, 2018. Photo by David Hill.
Photo by Rodrigo Moreno

And Rogers is one of them. In 2016, she swept the professional, non-classic category, taking home first, second and third prize with her tarts. Yet, despite the accolades, the award-winning baker wasn’t confident that she’d bake a winning batch this year. Doo Doo’s placed 12th in last year’s competition, which had Rogers wondering how her tarts really measured up.

After going back to the drawing board, Doo Doo’s reclaimed its title and more this year. The classic, plain butter tart is simple, but judges found it to be simply the best.

“I’m a purist,” the self-taught baker said. “I like them plain.”

Rogers used the classic pastry and perfectly sticky-sweet tarts as a launching pad for the creation that earned her both top prize in the fusion category, plus Best in Show. Taking advantage of fresh strawberries and seasonal rhubarb, Rogers baked the award-winning batch at midnight the night before the competition.

“I’ve kind of got a knack for pairing flavours with butter tart filling,” Rogers said. “We’re always experimenting in our kitchen – even down to the last minute.”

best in show midland butter tart festival

The Winner of Best in Show at Midland’s Best Butter Tart Festival, Saturday, June 9, 2018. Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Butter Tart from Doo Doo’s Bakery in Bailieboro, Ont. Photo by Rodrigo Moreno.

The sweet and tangy tart was so good,  that as soon as the judging ended, a crowd descended on her booth before Rogers even heard that they’d won.

“I call it Butter Tart Christmas because that really is what it is,” she said. “It was fun, it is always lots of fun.”

While the winning strawberry-rhubarb creation wasn’t among the thousands of tarts Doo Doo’s sold that weekend,  fans can taste the award-winning tart at their bakery and cafe. Butter tart lovers can also seek them out at the Cobourg Farmers’ Market and the Peterborough Market.

While Rogers has had years of competition under her belt, Tonya Louks thought the festival would just be a fun weekend away. The amateur baker from Welland, Ont. is usually one to shy away from the spotlight, which is why she never expected to be crowned champ of the traditional amateur competition on Saturday.

“I thought I didn’t have a chance, but you just never know,” said Louks, who has been making butter tarts for her family for years. Armed with a family-filling recipe passed down from her husband’s great-great-grandmother, she’s perfected her thin, flaky crust and studded her tarts with raisins for a mouthwatering treat her family raves about.

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Amateur baker Tonya Louks’ award-winning traditional butter tart. Photo by Rodrigo Moreno.

“My family kept bugging me to enter and I said ‘you are all biased,’” said Louks, who relented after her family insisted she share her tarts with the world. Even though she made it through the first round of the competition with ease, she was worried how her thin crust would stand up against the competition, who had thicker pastries.

“You never know what the judges are going to like or not like,” said Louks, who was excited to see The Baker Sisters as part of the judging panel.

With the surprise win under her belt, Louks is already getting requests from friends and family, who want a bite of her award-winning treats. While she isn’t taking orders, she’s definitely taking inspiration from this year’s winners and from the variety of tarts available at the festival, including some impressive gluten-free tarts and ‘puptarts’ she brought home for her dog.

Looking to try some tasty tarts? Hit the road this summer and discover 10 Butter Tart Spots to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

The Ultimate Strawberry Rhubarb Pie for Canada Day

Every year July 1st, I catch some of the festivities of the Canada Day celebration in my city. They have a large open fire salmon barbecue at the centre of the festival grounds surrounded by many vendors selling lemonade, fresh kettle corn and cotton candy. My favourite part of the festivities is the pie-by-the-slice fundraiser inside the local community centre.

There’s always quite a large selection; pies made with plump local blueberries or Okanagan peaches are always popular choices. But my go-to has always been the strawberry-rhubarb. There’s just something so irresistible about the combination of the sweet and tangy pink filling and the (optional but mandatory) à la mode, that keeps me going back year-after-year. So here’s an ode to my favourite July 1st treat, with an added Canada Day-inspired touch.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Canada Day Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Chill Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Makes: One double crust 9-inch pie

Ingredients:
Crust:
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup cold butter, unsalted, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup cold water
4 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 cup ice

Egg Wash:
1 egg
Coarse sugar

Filling:
5 cups chopped rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 cups strawberries, halved
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup cornstarch

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Directions:

Crust:
1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, salt and sugar. Set aside.
2. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay!).
3. Combine the water, cider vinegar and ice in a small bowl.
4. Add 2 Tbsp of the liquid mixture over the flour mixture. Mix and cut it in with bench scraper or spatula until fully incorporated. Continue adding the liquid, 1-2 Tbsp at a time. Mix until the dough comes together in a ball.
5. Shape the dough into 2 flat discs, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Filling:
1. Prepare the rhubarb and strawberries. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, combine sugars, cinnamon and cornstarch.
3. Toss together the fruit and dry mixture. Add lemon juice and combine.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Assembly and Baking:
1. Once the dough has chilled, roll out the dough in between two sheets of parchment and fit it on the pie plate.
2. Line pie pan with rolled out bottom crust.
3. Roll out top crust. Using a maple leaf-shaped cutter, punch out maple leaves into the rolled out top crust. Save all the maple leaf cut outs to use for decorating the edge of the pie.

4. Pour filling into the bottom crust, leaving behind any excess liquid from filling.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

5. Gently place on top crust. Take the reserved maple leaf cut outs to create a border around the pie.

6. Coat top crust with a simple egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Place pie on a baking sheet before putting it in the oven, just in case any juices bubble over.
7. Bake at 425°F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to brown. Lower the oven temperature to 375°F and continue to bake until the pastry is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling throughout, 35 to 40 minutes longer.
8. If the top crust is starting to get a little dark too quickly, place a pie shield on the pie.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

9. Once ready, let pie set for at least 1 hour before cutting into it. Serve as is or with a big scoop of ice cream.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Looking for more inspiration? Try our 60 Great Canadian Recipes.

Watch this video to get Anna Olson’s top tips on baking fruit pies.

10 Perfect Red and White Drinks for Canada Day

If you plan on throwing the ultimate Canada Day bash, you might be stumped as to what to serve when it comes to drinks. With the exception of domestic beer, it can be difficult to think of “Canadian” drink recipes — besides the Caesar of course. Spice up your drink menu by incorporating these red and white cocktails your guests are sure to love.

strawberry-sour

1. Strawberry Sour

Start your Canada Day bash right with this gorgeous red and white cocktail from Chef David Hawksworth. Nothing says summer like strawberries!

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2. Cranberry Kir Royale

Tyler Florence combines frozen cranberries, orange juice and Champagne for the ultimate summer drink. Bring

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3. Shuggie

Why is this drink called a Shuggie? Your guess is as good as ours, but we’re certain you and your guests will love this rum-based cocktail infused with rhubarb, ginger, lime and Thai basil flavours.

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4. Citrus Berry Spritz

This sweet fizzy drink from Giada De Laurentiis is filled with berry ice cubes and a hint of mint for freshness.

WATERMELON-­STRAWBERRY SANGRIA, Bobby Flay, Barbecue Addiction: Bobby’sBasics/Bobby’s Basics: Simply Skewers, Food Network, Watermelon, Strawberries, RoseWine, Vodka, Orange Juice, Orange Liqueur, Orange, Lime

5. Watermelon Strawberry Sangria

Bobby Flay’s sweet, citrus-infused summer drink is ideal for a party or get-together with friends.

lava-flow-mocktail

6. Lava Flow Mocktail

What’s more Canadian than the combination of red and white? These sweet dessert-worthy drinks start with a base of raspberry purée, then a milky topping, a generous amount of whipped cream and finished with sugared frozen raspberries on top. Don’t forget to rim the glasses with red-coloured sugar!

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7. Rum Punch

Try this refreshing booze-infused punch filled with tropical flavours and Jamaican white rum from Bobby Flay.

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8. Cranberry Mojito

To keep with the red and white theme, don’t forget to serve this fizzy bevvy with floating cranberries and fresh, muddled mint leaves.

watermelon-martinis

9. Watermelon Martinis

Sure to quench your summertime thirst, Bobby’s fruity martini is loaded with tons of fresh watermelon and melon liquor for the utmost melon flavour.

Classic Canadian Caesar
10. Classic Canadian Caesar

The ultimate Canadian drink — thanks to our nation’s love of Clamato juice. This classic drink is a must-have for any Canada Day celebration. This version adds fresh sage and lime for a fresh new twist.

Looking for more recipes for your party? Try these Great Canadian Desserts.

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How to Master Cottage Meal Planning Like a Pro

When it comes to the dog days of summer, all we want is a little R&R at the cottage. And, of course, we want to eat well while we’re there, but who has time to slave over a hot stove when that gorgeous lakeside dock and campfire are calling? Take the hassle out of hustling to the cabin with these easy ideas for cottage meal planning that will have you relaxing and enjoying delicious dishes, from morning to night, in no time at all.

Map Out Your Staples

Some people are all about breakfasts and brunch, while others like to nibble in the morning and then enjoy a heartier lunch. Figure out your group’s style of eating and plan around that. Maybe it’s easier to let everyone fend for themselves with some toast or cereal at breakfast, and then throw some burgers on the grill at lunch. Or if your group is a big mid-morning brunch type, plan some easy but delicious brunches that don’t require a lot of heavy lifting, like this Italian Sausage and Egg Bake, or this Blueberries and Cream French Toast Bake that only takes 10 minutes to assemble and you can do it the night before.

Figure Out Your Star Recipes

Once you’ve got your staples out of the way, then it’s time to focus on a few cottage-worthy recipes that make you salivate. Not every meal has to be a big affair, but if you can find a couple of star courses to spatter into your overall menu, you’ll definitely feel like you’re eating like royalty. Just don’t confuse slaving over a hot stove with a great meal; when looking for your star recipes, go with elevated classics that are simple to prepare, like Giada’s herb-infused Pasta Primavera, or opt for a drool-worthy, no-cook salad like the Ina Garten’s Arugula with Prosciutto and Burrata salad.

Make Friends with Make-Ahead Meals

After a breezy morning on the lake or a lazy afternoon spent dockside, what’s better than heading inside and pulling out a meal that’s already prepared? Try to plan for a few of these delicious timesaver options, especially for a quick lunch or snack. Whip up some of this one-pot Broccoli with Bow Ties and Peas or Giada’s Orzo Salad to keep in the fridge for when your hunger strikes. For dessert, it doesn’t get much cozier than this Make-Ahead Apple Crisp

Use Up Freezer Meals

We’re always looking for easy weeknight dinners at home, which means we like to prep lots of delicious freezer meals in advance. If that sounds like you, why not just bring one or two of those freezer meals up with you to the cottage? If you have a short drive, you can just pop them in the freezer when you get there, or if it’s a long haul the meal could make an easy opening-night entrée to enjoy after you’re done unpacking. No freezer meals on hand? Consider making some in advance – that way, your freezer will be stocked for when you get home too, making this one a double win!

Bring Your Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

At home, you love programming your Instant Pot or slow cooker so that you just throw a bunch of ingredients together in the morning, and then by dinner you have an awesome meal. So, what’s to stop you from doing that at the cottage? There are myriad ideas for great cottage-friendly slow cooker recipes, recipes that will have you eating well with very little actual cooking at all.

Befriend the BBQ

Who wants to spend time at the stove when you can hang out by the grill with a cold drink in your hand and good company? Barbecued meals are the essence of cottage living! Burgers and sausages are always easy options, but there’s a whole world of grilling recipes out there that take your meal to the next level, most of which are quick to whip up.

Stick to the Basics

If you’re a foodie, odds are you love tinkering around in the kitchen. But, you probably also stress over creating the perfect dish. Some of the best dishes around feature simple ingredients with bold flavours, which is the perfect mandate for cottage living. If it sounds like an easy weeknight dinner you’d try at home, odds are it’s perfect cottage fare too. For something elegant yet simple, this Garlicky Grilled Chicken, Portobello and Radicchio Salad from Tyler Florence boasts that leftovers make great sandwiches for lunch tomorrow, too.

Stock Up on Snacks

One of our favourite things about the cottage is sitting back and enjoying tons of food! That means snacks, snacks and more snacks. And while we love reaching for a bag of chips or digging into an array of pre-cut veggies, don’t underestimate the power of a delicious but simple dip. This Honey Yogurt Dip is always a winner. Or, if you want something with a little more oomph, try Michael Smith’s Avocado Corn Guacamole. Feeling something a little sweeter? Whip up some Power Squares or some (healthy!) No-Bake Chocolate Crunch Brownies if you need a boost before climbing in the canoe, or stir up this addictive, easy, Canadiana-inspired Saltine Cracker Toffee with a Butter Tart Twist.

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Don’t Forget the Drinks

If you’re eating well, you might as well be drinking well. When it comes to staples, you’re going to want to bring water, wine, beer and juice. But why not add some cottage-inspired beverages for a treat? We’re fans of Bobby Flay’s Watermelon-Strawberry Sangria and this thirst-quenching pitcher of Spiced Maple Iced Tea.

Make a Grocery List

Once you’ve decided on all of the great food you’re going to nosh on during your cottage week or weekend away, then it’s time to put together a grocery list. No one wants to have to make a trip to town when you run out of an ingredient, especially not when there’s a beautiful lake waiting for you.

Co-ordinate Meal Planning with Guests

Want to make meal planning even simpler? Get everyone involved. If you’re heading to the cottage with friends or other families, split up that grocery list or have certain people in charge of different meals – just make sure someone is on duty to make these Peanut S’mores Magic Bars. Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to everyone enjoying some time away together with good views and good food.

So what are you waiting for? Get planning already! Here are 40 cottage-friendly make-ahead dishes to get you going. 

trail-mix-in-a-bowl

Snacking Just Got a Little More Canadian with Butter Tart Trail Mix

Cottage canoe rides, road trips, relaxed barbecues and outdoor summer concerts all have one thing in common: they’re better with snacks! We’ve come up with a healthy staple trail mix that takes less than 5 minutes to make, along with a few fun Canadian twists to tickle your fancy and tantalize those taste buds, no matter where the summer takes you. Get out there and hike, paddle, cruise, grill and sway to your heart’s content – we’ll bring the snacks

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Basic Canadian Trail Mix Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 3½ cups

Ingredients:

1 cup roasted salted or unsalted almonds
1 cup roasted salted or unsalted cashews
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted sunflower seeds
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
½ cup dried cherries

Directions:

1. Mix together almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pepitas and cherries. Serve. Store airtight at room temperature, up to 1 month.  

nanaimo-bar-trail-mix

Take all your favourite flavours of Nanaimo bars into the woods with you by making some chocolatey trail mix. Not a fan of coconut? Our original trail mix is simply satisfying.

Nanaimo Bar Trail Mix Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 4 cups

Ingredients:

1 cup roasted  walnuts halves
1 cup toasted, shaved coconut
¾ cup dark chocolate chunks
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted cashews
¼ cup roasted salted or unsalted sunflower seeds
¼ cup roasted salted or unsalted pepitas
¼ cup dried cherries   

Directions:

1. Mix together walnuts, coconut, chocolate, cashews, sunflower seeds, pepitas and cherries. Serve. Store airtight at room temperature, up to 1 month.  

butter-tart-trail-mix

The choice is yours: candied pecans or candied bacon? There’s no wrong answer! Both our tasty butter tart trail mix and sweet and savoury bacon mix are satisfying.

Butter Tart Trail Mix Recipes

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Cooling Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 3½ cups

Ingredients:

¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp water
2 tsp salted or unsalted butter
1 cup pecans
1 cup roasted salted or unsalted cashews
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted sunflower seeds
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted pepitas
½ cup raisins

Directions:

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

2. Melt brown sugar, water and butter in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture foams and the pan starts to look dry, about 5 minutes. Spoon onto prepared sheet and cool completely, about 10 minutes.

3. Mix together candied pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds, pepitas and raisins. Serve. Store airtight at room temperature, up to 1 month. 

Candied Bacon Trail Mix Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Cooling Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 4 cups

Ingredients:

6 strips bacon
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 cup roasted salted or unsalted almonds
1 cup roasted salted or unsalted cashews
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted sunflower seeds
½ cup roasted salted or unsalted pepitas
½ cup dried cherries   

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Fit a rimmed baking sheet with a cooling rack. Spray rack with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Place bacon in a shallow dish and sprinkle with brown sugar, turn to coat, pressing sugar onto bacon to adhere. Place on prepared cooling rack on baking sheet and bake 20 to 25 min, or until golden and crispy. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, crumble or roughly chop.

3. Mix together almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pepitas, cherries and bacon. Serve immediately.

More bites this way with our Best Road Trip Snacks made for traffic jams and car singalongs.

chicken-marinade

5 Make-Ahead Chicken Marinades You Can Freeze Now and BBQ Later

One of the very best things about summer eating is the effortless cooking. And a smart way to make summer cooking simple while keeping it interesting is to marinate chicken and pop it in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat, just defrost the package of your choice and toss it on the grill. To get you started, we’re giving you 5 unique, quick-to-prepare marinade options for a freezer full of winning chicken dinners. 

How to Marinade and Freeze Chicken for the BBQ

The following marinades are great with chicken breasts, thighs, drumsticks and wings. All you need to do is whisk or blend the ingredients listed together, toss them with 1 lb of your favourite chicken directly in an airtight zipper bag, seal and store in the freezer for up to two months. Set in the fridge the night before to defrost and voila: a tasty, weekend-worthy barbecue is possible on even the most hectic weeknight!

Greek Chicken Marinade Recipe

Inspired by fresh Greek flavours, this chicken marinade comes packed with flavour, and is best served with tender veggies, grains or potatoes and a generous sprinkling of crumbled feta.

Whisk to combine ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil with 2 Tbsp each chopped fresh oregano, sun-dried tomatoes and lemon juice, 4 cloves minced garlic and salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Sesame-Orange Chicken Marinade Recipe

Sweet with a bit of heat is all it takes to make this irresistible, Asian-inspired marinade. Whisk to combine 3 Tbsp orange juice, 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 3 cloves minced garlic, ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes and ground black pepper to taste.

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Green Goddess Chicken Marinade Recipe

A super-easy, garden herb marinade that brings tons of fresh, summery flavour. In a blender or food processor, blend ½ cup each chopped fresh parsley and chopped fresh cilantro leaves (with their tender stems), 4 chopped green onions, ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 cloves garlic and salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Sticky BBQ Chicken  Marinade Recipe

So sweet and sticky, you’ll have trouble not licking your fingers! Whisk to combine 3 Tbsp maple syrup, 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, 1 Tbsp tomato paste, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp hot sauce, 2 cloves minced garlic and salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Honey-Sriracha Chicken Marinade Recipe

The ubiquitous hot pepper sauce strikes again with a homemade chicken marinade made for the BBQ. Stir together 2 Tbsp each Sriracha hot sauce, honey and vegetable oil with 1 tsp garlic powder and salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Every BBQ needs an ice-cold beverage, so here are a handful of fruit-filled sangria recipes to take on that role.

The Boozy History of the Caesar Cocktail

Spiking a vodka and tomato juice with clam essence is cocktail bliss for Caesar-swilling Canucks, but the combination in this oh-so-Canadian cocktail wasn’t always so obvious. In fact, according to Alberta researchers, it took months for Calgary bartender and Caesar inventor Walter Chell to hit the perfect proportions.

A mixologist at the Calgary Inn before mixologist was a title, Walter was tasked with creating a cocktail to celebrate the 1969 opening of the inn’s new restaurant, Marco’s Italian. Inspired by his favourite Italian dish, spaghetti vongole, Chell set out to create a cocktail that would capture the pasta’s hearty clam and tomato flavours.

Three Caesar cocktails on wood countertop

Eventually he came up with the recipe Canadians have come to love: vodka mixed with clam-infused tomato juice, lime, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce, with a delicious celery salt rim. If we’re being honest (and after a few Caesars, who can lie?), the thought of a clam-based cocktail is a little strange — even for those of us who know how good it is. But surprisingly, Walter Chell wasn’t the first to come up with the concept. As Michael Platt notes in an article for the Calgary Sun, a 1900 copy of Modern American Drinks contains a recipe for a clam juice cocktail, as does a 1951 Betty Crocker cookbook. “So then what did Calgary’s beloved father of the Caesar really do?” asks Platt. “That’s like asking what Henry Ford did for the motor car or The Beatles did for music.”

Simply put, Chell perfected the recipe, taking it from clammy outlier to a red hot hit. Soon after, Mott’s beverage company released what is arguably the world’s best-known clam-infused tomato juice, Clamato.

Related: Sensational Canadian Cocktails

Chell invented the Caesar, but widespread distribution of Clamato brought it to homes and bars across the country. According to an Ipsos-Reid poll commissioned by the company in 2009, the Caesar or Bloody Caesar, is the most popular cocktail in Canada; Mott’s estimates that more than 350 million are consumed each year.

But beyond the occasional American article praising the “Canadian Bloody Mary,” Chell’s blend of sweet, salty, sour, spicy and bitter notes hasn’t gotten much love beyond our borders. Never mind — here, it’s not only a source of pride, but it’s a symbol of Canada’s changing demography and Canadians’ expanding palates.

Modern variations reflect international influences, substituting or enhancing British Worcestershire sauce with horseradish, wasabi, kimchi, chipotle, sriracha, teriyaki, tandoori, jerk spice, Dijon mustard or any number of flavours. A staple at Canada Day celebrations and weekend brunches and a drink as red as our flag, the Caesar is a cocktail that can rightly claim that it came, it quenched, and it conquered Canada.

Craving a Caesar? Learn how to make these tasty cocktail garnishes.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

green goddess dressing feature image

A Classic Green Goddess Dressing That Goes On Everything

Salad dressings don’t usually get their start on the stage, except for the classic Green Goddess, that is. Created in 1923 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, this verdant dressing was made to celebrate a stage production of the same name. Unbeknownst to the creator at the time, the simple blend of mayonnaise, fresh herbs and anchovies would become a staple in North America throughout the 20th century. Let’s just say that if Green Goddess didn’t pave the way, ranch dressing wouldn’t be as prominent on the grocery store shelves as it is today.

The best part of this particular salad dressing, aside from its amazing deity-provoking name, is its remarkable versatility. Its first calling may be to tenderly coat cool spinach leaves, crispy iceberg wedges or tender butter lettuce, but try serving it alongside grilled chicken, steaks and pork, or with roasted potatoes and cauliflower. The list of uses runs longer than the dressing’s history.

Without further ado, here’s how to make the famous Green Goddess dressing at home, and our favourite salad to serve it with.

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Classic Green Goddess Dressing

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1½ cups

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Ingredients:
¼ cup fresh tarragon leaves
¼ cup fresh chervil leaves
¼ cup fresh chives, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
5 anchovy fillets
Juice of 1 lemon (about ¼ cup)
⅔ cup mayonnaise
⅔ cup sour cream
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 tsp salt

greengoddess_02

Directions:
1. In a food processor or blender, add tarragon, chervil, chives, garlic, anchovies and lemon juice. Blend until a thick paste forms. Pulse in remaining ingredients and blend until full combined and pastel green in colour. Store airtight in refrigerator up to days.

greengoddess_salad

Roast Chicken, Almond and Currant Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Cool Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Serves: 4 to 5

Ingredients:
Roast Chicken:
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 cup raw almonds
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper, to taste

Currants:
⅔ cup water
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup dried currants 

Salad:
6 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
6 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 avocados, pitted and flesh cubed
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
Classic Green Goddess Dressing, as needed (recipe above)

Directions:
Roast Chicken:
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Add chicken to a baking dish and roast until skin is crispy and interior is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate to cool. Once chicken is cool, remove skin and separate meat from bones into bite-sized pieces. Discard skin and bones or save for use in another recipe. Reserve meat.

2. Place almonds into same baking dish (containing chicken drippings), season with salt and pepper and return to 400ºF oven. Roast almonds for 10 minutes, or until fragrant and beginning to brown. Transfer almonds to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess fat. Once cool, roughly chop almonds. Reserve almonds.

Currants:
1. Add currants to a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring water and vinegar to a simmer and pour over currant. Let sit for 10 minutes, strain and reserve currants.

Salad and Assembly:
1. In a large bowl, add lettuce, celery, avocado, tomatoes, cheese, chicken and currants. Add Green Goddess dressing to coat lettuce mixture and gently toss. Transfer salad to a serving platter, top with almonds and serve.

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Green Goddess 101

Dressing Herbs
Many Green Goddess recipes call for parsley instead of, or in addition to, chervil. Although chervil looks similar to parsley, the taste and texture of the fresh herbs are quite different. Chervil has a more subdued, fresher taste compared to that of parsley, and boasts somewhat of a licorice flavour, similar to fennel. Find chervil at specialty grocers, farmers’ markets or your own backyard.

Basil is another tender, summery herb that can be added to a Green Goddess dressing. A touch of mint is nice, too, but rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano have distinct flavours that will easily overpower the more delicate herbs.

greengoddess_avocado

Dressing Add-Ins
Ripe avocado adds creaminess to a Green Goddess dressing, typically in lieu of mayonnaise, sour cream or yogurt, and is an especially ideal substitute when egg or dairy allergies or are involved, or those following a vegan diet.

greengoddess_potatoes

For more ways to jazz up your greens, check out our best homemade salad dressing recipes.

Pesto

5 Pesto Recipes to Preserve That Garden-Fresh Flavour

It’s the end of summer, and gardens around the country are overflowing with beautiful, aromatic herbs. While this bountiful news is very welcome for flavour-craving home cooks, it can also be a little daunting. One can only garnish so many pizzas with fresh basil, and there’s a limit to the amount of tacos one can top with cilantro. But don’t let those gorgeous greens go to waste; instead, make pesto.

From classic basil-pine nut to a more modern kale-walnut creation, there are countless pesto possibilities and combinations to inspire new dishes and brighten up old favourites.

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Classic Basil Pesto
In a food processor, blend 2 cups packed fresh basil, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil and salt, to taste. Continue to blend until a thick, green paste forms.

 Parsley and Pistachio Pesto
In a food processor, blend 1 1/2 cups packed fresh parsley leaves, 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives, 1/3 cup pistachios, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil and salt, to taste. Continue to blend until a thick, green paste forms.

Cilantro, Mint and Pumpkin Seed Pesto
In a food processor, blend 1 cup packed fresh cilantro (including tender stems), 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves, 1/2 cup toasted unsalted pumpkin seeds, 1/3 sliced green onion, the zest and juice of 1 lime, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil and salt, to taste. Continue to blend until a thick, green paste forms.

Arugula and Almond Pesto
In a food processor, blend 2 cups packed baby arugula, 1/2 cup toasted almonds, zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil and salt, to taste. Continue to blend until a thick, green paste forms.

kale-pesto

Kale and Walnut Pesto
In a food processor, blend 11/2 cups packed green kale leaves including ribs, tough ends discarded, 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves, 1/2 cup Asiago cheese, 1/3 cup toasted walnuts, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil and salt, to taste. Continue to blend until a thick, green paste forms.

How To Store Pesto
Store pesto airtight in the refrigerator with a thin layer of olive oil over top to avoid oxidation and preserve that vibrant green colour. Or, spoon into an ice cube tray and freeze; pop out pesto “ice cubes” and store in a zip-top bag for portioned use throughout the fall and winter.

How To Enjoy Your Resh Pesto
– Mix pesto with your favourite vinegar to create an herbaceous salad dressing
– Mix pesto with mayonnaise to create a herby dipping sauce for kebabs, vegetables and chips
– Spread pesto onto sandwiches, burger buns or avocado toast
– Dress warm or cold pasta with pesto for a vibrant pasta dinner or lunchtime pasta salad
– Add a pop of freshness to soups and stews with a dollop of pesto on top
– Mix pesto with cream cheese for a fresh bagel topper
– Mix pesto into quiches, frittatas or spoon into omelettes

While you have the food processor out, try your hand at a few more pesto variations.

Cocktail-Popsicles-feature-image

Chill Out with Delicious DIY Cocktail Popsicles

Your summertime cocktail hour just got a lot more fun – and refreshing – thanks to these cool adults-only boozy pops. From Strawberry-Aperol, made with summertime berries, to an herbaceous Cucumber-Gin and a marmalade-infused Orange-Negroni, you’re bound to find your preferred tipple in one of these flavours. While it is tempting to add more alcohol, resist the urge; these won’t fully freeze if you’re overly generous.

Cocktail-Popsicles-holiding-summer

Strawberry-Aperol Cocktail Popsicles

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Freeze Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Makes: 4 cocktail popsicles

Ingredients:
1 cup water
6 medium fresh strawberries, hulled
1½ oz Aperol or Campari
1½ oz ice wine
2 Tbsp granulated sugar

Directions:
1. Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. Tap blender container to remove air bubbles. Fill popsicle mould, place in sticks and freeze until completely frozen, at least 8 hours. Remove from mould and enjoy.

Cocktail-Popsicles

Cucumber-Gin Cocktail Popsicles

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Freeze Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Makes: 4 cocktail popsicles

Ingredients:
1 cup water
½ cup roughly chopped English cucumber
2 oz gin
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp lime juice

Directions:
1. Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. Tap blender container to remove air bubbles. Fill popsicle mould, place in sticks and freeze until completely frozen, at least 8 hours. Remove from mould and enjoy.

Orange-Negroni-pops

Orange-Negroni Cocktail Popsicles

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Freeze Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Makes: 4 cocktail popsicles

Ingredients:
1 cup water
2 oz Campari or Aperol
2 oz sweet vermouth
1½ oz gin
4 Tbsp high-quality orange marmalade

Directions:
1. Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. Tap blender container to remove air bubbles. Fill popsicle mould, place in sticks and freeze until completely frozen, at least 8 hours. Remove from mould and enjoy.

Cocktail Popsicles - Birdseye

Looking for more delightful summer drinks? Try one of our 30 Cocktails to Keep You Cool This Summer.

Fruit Bruschetta

Fresh, Fruity Bruschetta to Sweeten Your Summer

Bruschetta is a crunchy Italian appetizer that celebrates summertime tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic and olive oil, all of which is spooned over crispy, toasted bread. With all of that goodness packed into one bite, it’s no wonder it’s so popular!

While tomatoes are lovely, the concept of bruschetta is open to interpretation. Instead of the standard tomatoes, we put some of summer’s best stone fruit in the spotlight, creating three scrumptious, tomato-free bruschetta using peaches, cherries and apricots. Enjoy one, two or all three of these sweet-meets-savoury creations for a bright, stunningly beautiful alternative to typical tomatoes.

peach-bruschetta

Peach and Radish Bruschetta
Thinly slice 2 ripe peaches and place in a medium bowl with 2 thinly sliced radishes, 1 Tbsp thinly sliced green onion and 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves. Toss in 1 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Mix and let peach mixture stand for 10 minutes. Garnish toasted crostini with peach mixture and serve immediately. Makes 8 to 10.

cherry-bruschetta

Cherry and Chive Bruschetta
Pit and slice 2 cups cherries and place in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup minced fresh chives, 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Mix and let cherry mixture stand for 10 minutes. Smear extra-smooth ricotta on toasted crostini and top with cherry mixture, spooning over residual cherry juices. Serve immediately. Makes 8 to 10.

Apricot-Basil

Apricot and Basil Bruschetta
Slice 2 cups ripe apricots and place in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup sliced red onion and 1/4 cup finely chopped basil. In a small bowl whisk 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar with 2 Tbsp apricot jam and microwave for 30 seconds. Toss apricot mixture with jam mixture and let stand for 10 minutes. Top toasted crostini with apricot mixture and garnish with crumbled feta. Serve immediately. Makes 8 to 10.

Don’t get us wrong, we still love tomatoes! Here are our finest fresh tomato recipes for summertime and beyond.

semifreddo

How to Make Semifreddo, Italy’s Dreamy No-Churn Ice Cream

If you’ve yet to make ice cream’s cooler Italian cousin, semifreddo (roughly translated from Italian to mean “half cold”), before, now is the time to whip up a batch. Not only is this dessert delicious with its dreamy, frozen mousse-like texture, it’s easy to make (no ice cream maker required!) and even easier to customize.

Traditionally poured into a loaf pan, frozen and then served sliced like an ice cream cake all grown up, you can also portion the semifreddo mixture into individual bowls, or even simply freeze a batch in a large container and scoop it out, ice cream-style. Starting with a simple vanilla base, the world is your oyster when it comes to flavours you can swirl into the mix.

semifreddo_freshfruit_complete01

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients:
5 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
1¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
2¼ cups heavy cream (35%), divided
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

semifreddo_01

1. In a large heat-safe bowl, whisk to combine egg yolks, 1 cup of sugar,  ¼ cup of cream and vanilla.

semifreddo_03

2. Fill a medium saucepan with approximately 2-inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place bowl containing yolk mixture on top and whisk regularly for 6 to 7 minutes, until thickened. Check consistency by dipping the back of a spoon in mixture and run your finger through it; the mixture should form a clean line. If it’s still too runny, continue to cook for another minute or so. Once thickened, remove from heat and let cool, about 1 hour.

semifreddo_05

3. Line a standard loaf tin or small baking pan with plastic wrap, leaving overhang.
4. Using a stand mixer, whip egg whites on high speed until frothy. Continue to whip on high speed while slowly adding ¼ cup remaining sugar. Stop whipping once stiff, glossy peaks form. Transfer whipped egg white mixture to a large mixing bowl.

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5. In the same stand mixer bowl, whip remaining 2 cups cream to stiff peaks. Transfer whipped cream to whipped egg white mixture.

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6. Pour cooked and cooled egg yolk mixture into the bowl of the egg white mixture and whipped cream, and fold with a spatula until all three components are combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan, cover top with overhanging plastic wrap and place in the freezer to set, about 4 hours.

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7. To serve, remove from pan, unwrap plastic and slice into thick slabs. Or use a scoop and serve mounded in bowls.

Peanut Butter and Banana Semifreddo

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients:
1 recipe plain semifreddo, prepared prior to freezing (steps 1 through 6, above)
1 cup chunky natural peanut butter (no sugar added)
¼ cup heavy cream (35%)
2 bananas, peeled and thinly sliced or mashed

Directions:
1. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt peanut butter. Transfer peanut butter to a small bowl and stir to combine with cream and bananas.

semifreddo_13

3. Line a standard loaf tin or small baking pan with plastic wrap, leaving overhang. Working in alternating layers, pouring one-third of the semifreddo followed by dollops of one-third of the peanut butter mixture; repeat with remaining semifreddo and peanut butter mixture. Cover top with plastic wrap and place in the freezer to set, about 4 hours.
4. To serve, remove from pan, unwrap plastic and slice into thick slabs. Or use a scoop and serve mounded in bowls.

More Semifreddo Flavour Options:

– Salted caramel and diced green apple
– Honey-roasted apricots and dark chocolate shavings
– Macerated berries and mint
– Sautéed plums and crushed hazelnuts
– Lemon zest and crumbled shortbread
– Cocoa powder and chopped roasted almonds

semifreddo_peanutbanana_complete02

Don’t touch that oven! Here are even more no-bake desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Braided Pie

3 Pretty Ways to Top Your Pie

As we move away from fruit-filled summer pies and head into fall, it’s time to conquer a classic pie crust and add some decorative designs to our baking bag of tricks. From skinny, wide and braided lattice tops to fluted edges and free-from cut outs, the combinations are just as endless and creative as the fillings inside.

In general, the cooler you keep the dough and the less it’s handled, the better it’ll be to work with. However, this is easier said than done. When rolling out dough or making decorative pieces, limit the amount of kneading as well as the use of additional flour. If the dough becomes too tacky or warm, just pop it back in the refrigerator for a bit. When gathering scraps to re-roll, try to layer them on top of each other to keep the baked crust flaky. Got leftovers? Wrap them well in plastic, and store in the freezer for up to a few months.

Whether you weave an intricate, plaid design or go with a more traditional, rustic top crust, one thing is for sure: you’re going to have one delicious pie.

Braided Pie

Braided Pie
This contemporary design gives great coverage to the top of a pie, but with some extra whimsy. Braid lengths of pie dough together and fit them over the top of the filling. Try varying the widths of the braids and the space in between for different looks!

You’ll Need:
Double-crusted pie dough
Filling of choice
Egg-wash (optional)
Turbinado sugar (optional)

Directions:
1. Prepare bottom crust and fill the pie. Chill for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, roll out top crust to about 1/4-inch into a large rectangular shape.
3. Using a ruler and pastry wheel or sharp paring knife, cut dough into long, 3/4-inch strips. You’ll need about 15 to 21 strips, depending on desired thickness and spacing in between.

Braided Pie
4. Gather strips into sets of 3. Pinch tops of each set together.
5. Keeping strips flat, begin a classic 3-strand braid. Trying not to stretch dough, braid the length of each set of strands. The longest braid should be slightly longer than the diameter of pie pan.
6. Lay braids over pie filling, parallel to each other.

Braided Pie
7. Trim braids so they overhang the edge of the pie by 1/2 to 3/4-inch on each side.
8. Fold excess dough from bottom crust up and over edges of the braids and press together.

Braided Pie
9. To create a fluted edge, pinch the dough between the thumb of your dominant hand the thumb and index finger of the opposite hand. Continue around the entire edge of the pie.
10. Refrigerate pie for 15 to 30 minutes as the oven pre-heats.
Brush with an egg-wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar (if desired), and bake according to your recipe or until golden brown.

Lattice-Pie

Classic Lattice Pie
Think fresh apple pie chilling on a windowsill. This basic design weaves strips of pie dough together to create a classic top crust. The over-under technique is not difficult to master, and once you’ve got it down, the designs are endless! Try weaving skinny pieces or wide pieces, or a combination to create a fun plaid. You could even sneak in a few braided pieces, too.

You’ll Need:
Double-crusted pie dough
Filling of choice
Egg-wash (optional)
Turbinado sugar (optional)

Directions:
1. Prepare bottom crust and fill the pie. Chill for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, roll out top crust to about 1/4 to 1/8 inch into a large, oval shape.
3. Using a ruler and pastry wheel or sharp paring knife, cut dough into 1 to 2-inch wide strips. The centre strips should be slightly longer than the diameter of the pie pan. You’ll need about 6 to 10 strips to create the lattice top, depending on desired width and spacing in between.

Lattice Pie
4. Lay 1/2 of strips over top of filling, all in the same direction.
5. Gently pull back and fold over every-other strip about halfway.
6. Lay 1 strip perpendicular to first set, next to folded edges, then replace folded strips over top of the newest strip to start the weave.
7. From the first set, gently pull back strips that did not get folded during the last round.

Lattice Pie
8. Repeat step 6 with another strip.
9. Continue this over-under motion with the remaining strips until the weave covers the entire top of the pie.
10. Trim strips so they overhang the edge of pie pan by about 1 inch.
11. Gently tuck both the overhanging pieces from top lattice and bottom crust under and press together all the way around the pie.

Lattice Pie
12. Crimp pieces together and press into the edge of the pie pan firmly with tines of a fork. Make sure each piece is secure. Refrigerate pie for 15 to 30 minutes as the oven pre-heats.
13. Brush with an egg-wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar (if desired) and bake according to your recipe or until golden brown.

 

fishtail lattice pie

Fishtail Cut-Out Pie
Once you’ve got your lattice and braids down, try combining both techniques together in this show-stopping pie. A tight lattice covers the centre while a double, five-strand fishtail braid creates the border. A few free-form leaves add extra flair and even hide the seams of the braids.

You’ll Need:
2 to 3 single crust pie dough
Flling of choice
Egg-wash (optional)
Turbinado sugar (optional)

Directions:
1. Prepare the bottom crust and fill the pie. Chill for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, roll out half of the remaining dough about 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick.
3. Using a ruler and a pastry wheel or sharp paring knife, cut very thin strips, about 1/2 inch wide and 7 to 8 inches long. You’ll need about 16 to 20 strips.
4. Following the directions of classic lattice design, weave together thin strips on top of the filled pie, leaving a 1 to 2 inch boarder around the edges. Fold over or trim any overhanging pieces of bottom crust. Place back in refrigerator.

fishtail pie braid
5. Roll out the remaining dough to about 1/4-inch thick. Using a ruler and pastry wheel or sharp paring knife, cut dough into long, thin strips.
6. Gather the strips into sets of 5. Pinch tops of each set together.
7. Keeping strips flat, begin a 5-strand, fishtail braid. Fan out all 5 strips. Taking the furthest strip from the right, cross it over the 2 strands closest to it and place it in the centre of the other 4.
8. Next, take the furthest strip from the left and cross it over 2 strands closest to it and place in the new centre.
9. Continue to braid the length of the braid, bringing the outmost strip over and into the centre.
10. Use braid to create a double-boarder around the pie, from the edge of the pan to the lattice centre.

fishtail pie crust
11. You’ll need several braids per ring. Braid ends of braids together or trim and press to seal. Use bit of egg wash to secure in place, if necessary.
12. With any remaining dough, roll out to about 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick.
13. Use a sharp paring knife to cut a free-form leaves.
14. Use back of a paring knife to score leaf patterns on each leaf.
15. Arrange leaves on top of the pie, or where the braids meet to cover the seams.

fishtail pie leaves
16. Refrigerate pie for 15 to 30 minutes as oven pre-heats.
17. Brush with egg-wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar (if desired) and bake according to your recipe or until golden brown.

fishtail pie finish

Looking for more pie-spiration? Check out these 10 Tips from Bakers for Perfect Pastry Art.

Szechuan Peppercorn

4 Quick and Easy Pairing Combos to Win Summer

This summer we’re keeping it simple, quick and easy – without compromising flavour or quality! Whether you’re hosting cocktails or a backyard party, we’ve got four tasty pairing combinations that are packed with complementary flavours and requires no prep, which means less cleanup and you can get right to your summer fete.

Ginger Teriyaki Charcuterie Board and Pairings

Complement the sweet flavours of toasted teriyaki and floral ginger with nutty cheeses and a refreshing extra pale ale to elongate the overall flavour profile.

You’ll Need: Raclette cheese, grilled pineapple, almonds, and lightly toasted bread with olive oil.

Korean BBQ Beef Charcuterie Board and Pairings

The trick to smoothing out the charred soy flavours of Korean BBQ beef is by indulging in a rich, creamy, sharp cheese, like Morbier, and a light bodied, low-tannin red wine like Shiraz.

You’ll Need: Morbier cheese, sesame seed crackers, bell peppers, and assorted nuts.

Szechuan Peppercorn Charcuterie Board and Pairings

It’s all about contrast with this pairing! Temper the sharp, rich flavours of the Szechuan peppercorns with a creamy but bold Gouda. Enjoy these with a light bodied ale, like a Pilsner, that won’t mask the sweet and sharp flavours.

You’ll Need: Gouda cheese, water crackers, olives and sundried tomatoes.

Sweet Chili Pork Charcuterie Board and Pairings

When it comes to a sweet and spicy pork, it’s best to pair with a light and creamy cheese that will complement the earthy sweet flavour and lighten the chili kick. To quench your thirst, try a sparkling semi-dry white wine to help cut through the richness.

You’ll Need: Brie cheese, roasted peppers, sundried tomatoes, and lightly toasted bread.

Anna Olson’s Summer Fruit Flan

The minute the weather starts warming up, I start dreaming about the fresh fruits to come: First rhubarb, then strawberries, then cherries — and finally, apricots, raspberries, blueberries and peaches all at once. To get you ready for summer baking, I thought an elegant, classic fruit tart would be ideal. This fruit flan uses a cookie-like tart base with a sweet vanilla pastry cream filling and you get to be creative with the fruit on top — any summer fruit would make this a truly show-stopping dessert.

Anna Olson's summer fruit flan

Summer Fruit Flan

Servings: 8 to 10

Ingredients:

Pastry
½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
2 egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
2 oz white chocolate, chopped

Pastry Cream
1 cup milk
2 eggs
¼ cup sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Assembly
4 cups seasonal summer fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, Blueberries, apricots or peaches, in any combination
3 Tbsp apple jelly

Directions:

1. Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Stir in the egg yolks and vanilla. Stir in the flour and salt until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, until firm.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Knead the pastry dough on a lightly floured surface to soften enough that it can be easily rolled. Dust the pastry a little and roll it out to just over 11-inches in diameter and just under a ¼-inch thick. Line a 9-inch removable-bottom fluted tart pan and trim the edges. Chill the pastry for 20 minutes in the fridge or 10 minutes in the freezer.

3. Dock the bottom of the pastry shell with a fork and bake it for 16 to 20 minutes, until just the edges are golden brown and the centre of the shell is dry looking. Cool completely before filling.

4. Keep the baked tart shell in its pan. Melt the white chocolate in a bowl placed over a pot of barely simmering water, stirring until melted. Brush the bottom and sides of the cooled tart shell to coat and chill the shell while preparing the pastry cream.

Related: Anna Olson’s Best New Dessert Recipes

5. Heat the milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepot until just below a simmer. Whisk the eggs, sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk half of the hot milk into the egg mixture, then pour this entire mixture back into the pot with the remaining milk. Whisk the custard constantly over medium heat until it thickens and just begins to bubble, about 3 to 4 minutes. Strain the custard into a bowl, stir in the vanilla and butter until melted and cover the bowl with plastic wrap so the wrap directly covers the surface of the custard. Cool the custard to room temperature, then chill for at least 2 hours.

6. To assemble the tart, spoon the custard into the tart shell and spread it evenly. Top the custard with the fresh fruit, creating an appealing design.  Melt the apple jelly over low heat, and then brush it over the fruit.  Chill the tart until you are ready to serve.

Note: The tart can be stored chilled for up to a day.

fnc-stars-summer

Food Network Canada Stars’ Favourite Vacation Eats

Sure, sure—it may be summer and some of our favourite chefs are taking a bit of a breather during these supposed “dog days.” But that doesn’t mean these foodies aren’t whipping up inspiring dishes and eating at some pretty incredible places during their hiatuses. In fact, summer seems to be a time for food creativity to develop and palates to blossom.

From Ree Drummond and Eden Grinshpan to Michael Smith and Alton Brown, here’s what our culinary superstars have been enjoying this summer. Bon appetit!

Anna Olson
When in Montreal, Anna Olson tends to stop by Patrice Patissier for some mouthwatering (and eye-catching) desserts. Just check out this rhubarb concoction she enjoyed recently. This artful offering might actually be the definition of summer on a plate.

Eden Grinshpan
While travelling in Tel Aviv this summer with her family, Eden Grinshpan seemed to be all about the Mediterranean food. And why not? Between the pitas, hummus, fresh veggies, fish and garlicky dips, it’s nice, light and perfect for summer. Mmm, pita.

https://instagram.com/p/BWFZtvjnRVk/

Alton Brown
Who says you can’t have rice for breakfast? When one is searching for a hearty meal in Los Angeles to kick off the day, Sqirlla seems to be a top choice for Alton Brown. We wonder how long it took him to polish off this crispy rice with the works… Probably not long at all.

Giada DeLaurentiis
Speaking of hearty breakfasts, it looks like Giada is getting her energy this summer from this riff on eggs Benedict–which is also a riff on classic crab cakes. Introducing Salmon Cake Benedict, a brunch item at DeLaurentiis’s Nevada eatery, Vegas. The salmon cakes are elevated with wilted spinach, piquillo peppers and prosecco hollandaise sauce, and are served with some classic toast and poached eggs. Sign us up.

Salmon cake benny! @giadavegas #vegasuncorkd

A post shared by Giada DeLaurentiis (@giadadelaurentiis) on

Michael Smith
Some people stop and smell the summer flowers, other people devour them as culinary masterpieces. Michael Smith definitely falls into the latter category if this beautiful skillet he recently enjoyed is any indication. These mulled strawberries in haskap berry syrup with nutmeg biscuits and flower petal confetti are basically summer in a pan, and we just want to dive right in.

Ree Drummond
Ree Drummond has been busy pioneering her new cookbook this summer, and judging by some of the recipes she’s sharing it’s going to be epic. Fall, winter, spring or summer, we’re always down for bread and cheese. And when you pack melty cheese into a wheel of bread and serve it with some marinara sauce for dipping? Well that’s a recipe that just inspired us to host an end-of-summer potluck.

Mark McEwan
Sure, you could go for a pint and a platter of nachos after work, but that seems a little heavy on the tummy during these warmer summer months. That’s why we want to go the Mark McEwan route, and munch on these crispy rice cup crackers topped with tuna tartare, yuzu kosho and lime coconut instead. This Bymark appie isn’t just light and summery, but you also feel super artsy just eating it.

Chuck Hughes
There are rice bowls, and then there are rice bowls a la Chuck Hughes. We knew the chef was obsessed with fresh seafood, but this dish he showcased recently at his Le Bremner restaurant in Montreal is basically any lobster-lover’s dream. Huge chunks of lobster, fresh pops of peas and a buttery sauce on rice? Um, yes please.

RiceBowL☑

A post shared by Chuck Hughes (@chefchuckhughes) on

Bobby Flay
Speaking of lobster, the delicacy may just be the seafood of the summer. Bobby Flay also enjoyed it recently at his Bobby Flay Steak restaurant in Atlantic City, via this elevated take on surf-and-turf. Grilled to perfection and topped with honey mustard horseradish and mint, these skewers make barbecues everywhere jealous.

Nigella Lawson
Simpler is always better, at least when it comes to wholesome cooking. Nigella Lawson continually proves this, especially with this summery take on old-fashioned tomato salad with homemade dressing. Now how refreshing does this look?

Geoffrey Zakarian
What do Chopped judges do for lunch when they have a break from filming during the lazy summer months? If they’re Geoffrey Zakarian they go for a chopped salad, of course. This one comes loaded with all of our faves, from blanched green beans to avocado, and it’s making our veggie-loving tummies grumble. Please excuse us while we go and chop one up ourselves.

Lunchtime. A different meaning for #chopped @foodnetwork

A post shared by Geoffrey Zakarian (@gzchef) on

gremolita-pasta

Savour Summer with Garlic Scape Gremolata ‘Pasta’

It’s officially garlic scape season! Garlic scapes are the gorgeous, winding green stalks that twirl above garlic bulbs buried beneath the soil. They have a milder, less pungent garlic taste and can be stir-fried, stewed, grilled, minced, blended, turned into pesto, pickled and fermented. You can find garlic scapes at many grocery stores, farmers’ markets or for lucky gardeners, your own backyard.

Garlic scapes are a vibrant addition to classic gremolata, a zippy, chopped herb condiment that pairs well with sweet potato and zucchini “noodles,” juicy grilled shrimp and plump cherry tomatoes. This healthy dish is so fresh and zesty, it’s basically summertime in a bowl.

garlic scape shrimp 3

Garlic Scape Gremolata Grilled Shrimp over Sweet Potato and Zucchini Noodle Pasta

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes
Serves: 2 to 4

Ingredients:
Gremolata:
6 (6-inch) garlic scapes or 6 peeled cloves garlic
1 bunch curly parsley, tough ends discarded
Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 Tbsp)
Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Noodles:
1 large zucchini
1 large sweet potato, peeled
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Shrimp:
Olive oil, as needed
15 raw, peeled and deveined shrimp, tails intact
3 to 4 Tbsp Gremolata (recipe above)

Assembly:
5 cherry tomatoes, halved
Hulled hemp seeds, to taste

Directions:
Gremolata:
1. Add garlic scapes or garlic and parsley to a food processor and pulse until finely minced. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and pulse until fully combined, leaving some rustic texture. If you don’t have a food processor, mince ingredients finely by hand and stir together in a bowl.

garlic scape shrimp 2

Noodles:
1. Using a spiralizer, spiralize zucchini and sweet potato into spaghetti-style pasta. Or use a vegetable peeler to make thin, long strips. Or use prepared spiralized vegetable noodles, which can be found at most grocery stores.

garlic scape shrimp 1

2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil, followed by noodles. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender but not falling apart. (You can skip cooking and eat raw, if you prefer.) Season with salt and pepper. Remove noodles from heat.

Shrimp:
1. Heat grill or grill pan to medium-high and lightly brush with enough oil to coat grates.
2. In a large bowl, mix to coat shrimp with 3 to 4 Tbsp gremolata.
3. Grill shrimp for 3 minutes per side, or until bright pink and firm.

Assembly:
1. Place noodles in a large bowl and top with cherry tomatoes and shrimp. Spoon 1/4 to 1/3 cup of additional gremolata overtop bowl and gently mix everything to coat. Divide between serving bowls, sprinkle with hemp seeds, to taste and serve. Store any extra gremolata airtight in refrigerator up to 1 week.

Garlic lovers, rejoice! Here are 20 more zesty recipes featuring the flavour-packed bulb. 

How to Grill Any Cut Of Steak Perfectly

As soon as the nice weather begins, Canadians ditch cooking in the kitchen and fire up the barbecue. The aromas and flavours of meat and veggies fresh from the open fire are intoxicating. And, when it comes to steak, nothing beats a perfectly cooked, well-seasoned, juicy cut. But this is easier said than done. It can be difficult to know what to buy at the butcher, how different cuts of steak vary and the best way to cook them.

With the stakes so high (pardon the pun, but these cuts can be expensive!), we’re giving you the ultimate guide to choosing and grilling steak this summer and beyond.

grilled-steak-and-papaya-salad

BBQ Steak Basics

1. Let steak come to room temperature before grilling: About 30 minutes before grilling, take it out of the fridge. This will allow the meat to cook evenly.

2. Get the grill super-hot: You want to get good sear on your steak for the perfect finished crust. Heat your grill to at least 450ºF before cooking.

3. Season with a bit of oil and lots of salt: Brush steaks with a thin layer of high-temperature oil, like grape seed or refined avocado. Then, don’t just sprinkle salt on your steak, season with reckless abandon. A thick slab of meat needs more salt than you think. Use kosher or coarse salt on both sides and apply until you can see it on the surface of the meat.

4. Use a thermometer: Unless you’re a veteran grill master with tons of experience cooking steak, it’s difficult to tell how well cooked the meat is just by touching it. Quit guessing and take the internal temperature with an instant-read of meat thermometer. To avoid burning the exterior if a steak is very thick, remove it from direct heat and finish cooking on indirect heat until it has reached your desired internal temperature.

5. Rest the steak: Let your steak rest for at least 10 minutes on a warm plate before slicing. The meat needs time to recirculate its juices, and that can only be achieved through patience. Once you’ve come this far in cooking the perfect steak, it would be a shame to ruin it! Your steak will not get cold (this is where a warm plate comes in handy). When your time is up, slice against the grain for more tender slices.

Steak Doneness Temperatures

  • Rare: 120ºF to 130ºF
  • Medium Rare: 130ºF to 140ºF
  • Medium: 140ºF to 150ºF
  • Medium Well: 150ºF to 155ºF
  • Well Done: 160ºF +

With the basics mastered, it’s time to discuss some of the common cuts and how they differ.

The Best Cuts of Steak for Grilling

Ribeye (Rib-eye, Rib Eye) Steak: Sometimes called entrecote, it can be purchased with the bone intact or boneless. It’s a tender steak with plenty of delicious fat marbling. This cut has a big, beefy flavour and is supremely juicy. For this reason, ribeye is usually on the pricier side, making it perfect for special occasions.

Flank Steak and Skirt Steak: Both very affordable (though the popularity of flank steak has made it rise in price recently) and tasty steaks, but they require a bit more work than other cuts. Flank steak can be tough and chewy, however, marinating overnight and cooking only to medium-rare can help keep it tender. After marinating, grilling and resting, flank steak must be thinly sliced across the grain to remain tender. Skirt steak should be prepared the same way as flank steak: marinated, grilled to medium-rare, rested and sliced against the grain. Flank and skirt steaks are great for weeknights and entertaining large groups.

New York Strip Steak: This cut is also known as the strip steak, top sirloin, top loin and contre-filet. The meat has a finely-grained texture and rich, beefy flavour. Its medium fat content, decent marbling and tender texture (less so than ribeye, but this cut is also less expensive) make it an ideal steak for barbecuing.

Porterhouse Steak: This steak is also known as the T-bone, a bone-in steak that has two of the most prized cuts of beef in one tidy package. On one side, the tenderloin, and on the other, the ribeye. The tenderloin portion will generally cook a bit faster than the ribeye portion, but the bone helps to keep the meat juicy. The porterhouse is the perfect steak for high-heat barbecues and entertaining to impress.

Now that you’ve nailed barbecued steak 101, it’s time to fire up the grill and dive into a recipe. Grill guru Bobby Flay takes it from here with this summery Grilled Steak and Papaya Salad .

bbq corn on the cob

5 Insanely Tasty Ways to Top Corn on the Cob

When the heat of summer hits and its bounty finally brings sweet corn, there’s no better way to celebrate than by throwing some ears on the grill.

Eating corn right off the cob is so satisfying and the smokiness from the grill only adds to the depth of flavour to these sweet ears. Most people dress their corn the classic way, slathering on butter and salt before gnawing away. But grilled corn on the cob is basically a blank canvas, perfect for adding flavours and toppings.

This summer, skip the butter and get creative with one of these five ways to top your cobs.

bbq corn on the cob

Middle Eastern
Spread with a little butter then add Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend. Top with feta cheese and a squeeze of lemon.

Maple Mustard
Mix equal parts grainy mustard and maple syrup to make corn on the cob that begs to be served with ribs.

Everything Bagel
If you are reminiscing about breakfast, test out this recipe that mimics the best bagel flavour out there. Give your corn a good smear of either butter or cream cheese and sprinkle with equal parts dehydrated onions, poppy seeds and sesame seeds.

bbq corn on the cob

Korean Spice
Add a bit of Korean flare to your corn on the cob by drizzling mayonnaise and gochujang, a sweet-and-savoury Korean condiment, over the corn. Sprinkle with sliced green onion and toasted sesame seeds.

Cacio y Pepe
Italians know that the best way to top their pasta is simply with butter, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Adopt the Italian mentality, but apply it to corn. Slather your cob with butter, then sprinkle liberally with finely grated Parmesan cheese. Finally, season with fresh ground pepper and a pinch of salt.

Can’t get enough summer corn? Try these 40 Fresh Corn Recipes.

black ice cream

Why Charcoal is the Inky New Ingredient of Summer

If you’ve noticed an eerie new food trend this summer, you’re not alone. Pitch-black foods from ice cream to breads to cocktails and smoothies are popping up on menus and on your Instagram feed in droves. The colour of these concoctions is thanks to activated charcoal, the newest (and eeriest) addition to the ever-growing roster of superfood boosters.

Activated charcoal bread

Activated charcoal bread.
laurapeill.com

Activated charcoal is popular in the health food realm as it’s thought to assist in detoxification, likely because it’s frequently used if a patient is rushed to the hospital for an overdose or ingested poison. There is reason to be cautious when consuming, as its binding properties can also remove important vitamins and minerals from the body, along with the “bad.” In terms of using it as a health food supplement, the amounts are miniscule versus those used in hospitals, so you can rest easy. But don’t think of activated charcoal as a panacea – it’s a supplement and natural colourant, not a medication.

Also, don’t go searching for activated charcoal by harvesting backyard barbecue coals – they are not the same thing. Activated charcoal is a byproduct of burning plant fibres, like coconut husks. Overall, in moderation, charcoal can be a funky add-in here and there for the average, healthy adult.

So, if you’re ready to give the raven-hued trend a try, consider a playful bite of ebony pizza crust, “burnt” sourdough, inky ice cream or a sable-hued latte. Bartenders are even creating detox-retox sips using activated charcoal, like The Carbon Bar in Toronto, which created the Black Mamba Margarita with charcoal-infused Avion tequila, St. Germain, Bowmore, lime and a sea-salt rim.

Black Mamba Margarita

This cocktail is made with charcoal-infused Avion tequila, St. Germain, Bowmore and lime with a sea-salt rim.
The Carbon Bar

The recently opened iHalo Krunch, “Toronto’s first charcoal ice cream shop,” is swirling up dreamy combinations, complete with activated charcoal cones.

And for the health nuts, to whom the activated charcoal trend in food should be attributed, find cold-pressed lemonade, vegan soft serve, almond milk lattes, sourdough breads and edible body treatments (whitening toothpastes and facemasks) to satisfy your curiosity.

Ihalo Krunch cones

At iHalo Krunch, the ice cream is served up in activated-charcoal cones.
ihalo Krunch

While the trend has some latte-slinging baristas up in arms, as activated charcoal can leave a gritty texture and off taste when combined with coffee and milk, it is, for the most part, a visual barrier more than a physical one.

Let us know if you have or would join in the activated charcoal food movement.